Cruise hell for Chapel family

Island Escape cruise ship where one family from Chapel were holidaying when they were struck down with sickness - now they want to know if it could have been prevented
Island Escape cruise ship where one family from Chapel were holidaying when they were struck down with sickness - now they want to know if it could have been prevented

Holidaymakers speak out after their Mediterranean cruise became a nightmare when some of their party were struck down with a severe sickness bug.

Edith Smith, 85, from Chapel-en-le-Frith, was holidaying with her daughters Lesley Khaksari, 57, and Beverley Burke, 52, as well as Beverley’s daughter Lucy, 15, in August.

They were on board the Island Escape cruise ship when two of their party fell violently ill.

Beverley, from Chapel-en-le-Frith, said: “Our trip on the Island Escape was an absolute nightmare and people were desperate to get off the ship as soon as they could. It wasn’t just us that were ill, we saw a lot of people around the ship who had similar problems.

“We’ve never experienced anything like it and it completely ruined our holiday.”

Beverley and Lesley suffered severe gastric illness during their voyage on the Island Escape after eating a chicken dish at one of the ship’s restaurants. They experienced diarrhoea, stomach cramps, vomiting and lethargy following the illness.

Both Lesley and Beverley were visited in their cabins by the cruise doctor and received treatment for the illness they were suffering.

The family said that after sending food back to the kitchen as it was cold it would be returned at the same temperature, that bins on the ship were often overflowing and that some of the public toilets they used during the voyage were not cleaned properly.Lesley, from New Moston, Manchester, said: “We were absolutely heartbroken when we saw the ship as it was not at all what we expected when we booked the cruise. It didn’t get any better from there and we were extremely disappointed with the standard of the décor and the hygiene on board.

“When my sister and I fell ill it was absolutely horrendous.

“The last thing we expected when we booked the holiday was to be confined to our cabins suffering from such an unpleasant illness.

“When we found out there had been illness outbreaks on the Island Escape in the past we were not surprised as the hygiene standards were not what we expected.

“I believe the ship simply isn’t good enough and too many people are falling ill during voyages.”

The family are now taking legal advice from lawyers.

Jennifer Downing, an expert travel illness lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing the family, said: “Any reports of illness on board cruise ships or at holiday resorts across the world are a concern. There are normally procedures which cruise ship operators should follow to prevent the spread of illness and we will be investigating to determine what has been done to implement any measures both on this and any previous cruise.

“We would like to hear from anyone who travelled on board the Island Escape recently who may be able to help with our enquiries.”

A spokesperson for Island Cruises said: “We are sorry to hear of this experience on board the Island Escape.

“As this case is now subject to legal proceedings it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.

“The ultimate priority for Island Cruises is the health, safety and comfort of all customers. We operate stringent health and hygiene procedures in line with industry standards.”